Mom and Dad Scrumptious came to visit over the recent long weekend here in the States and some of the best parts of their visit was tending my new herb garden -- it's growing so well especially with Mom's help -- replanting my spectacular tomato plant that already has doubled in size and has 7 gorgeous tomatoes already and doing homey chores and things around our apartment. But, of course I love cooking and we all love eating so lots of food and delicious meals were happening at Scrumptious Street.
I would ask Dad to name an item he was craving or wanting and I'd cook a meal around it. We had so much fun with this kind of secret ingredient meets mystery menu dinner. Mom and Dad Scrumptious don't have access to spectacular seafood like we do in NYC so one night scallops were his ingredient of choice. With that, I created a wonderful light and summery pasta with the freshest scallops and clams I could find.
And yes, I also used my own fresh herbs! I am LOVING the herb garden. I walk out while taking a pause in cooking and snip, snip, I bring back the lovely goodness I need and never have to worry about using it all before it goes bad or loses its flavor. What a terrific addition to my kitchen!
In this recipe I used white pepper instead of black pepper. It has a gentler and subtler flavor which I really love with seafood in particular. If you're in the habit of only using black pepper, give the white a try. Also, the sauce is really very light and much more a condiment for the seafood and the pasta so make sure you use really good, fresh pasta, clams and scallops here. The quality is very crucial to the taste of the dish.
As well, both of these seafood are extremely easy to overcook and as soon as they do, they are ruined and rubbery. If you spend the money for fresh scallops and clams, make sure not to multi-task too much and really get them off the heat as soon as they are done -- which is under 5 minutes in both cases. Here is my "Dad Scrumptious Sea Scallop and Clam Tagliatelle".
1 lb. fresh tagliatelle
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 spring onion
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 lemon, squeezed for juice
1/2 c. dry white wine
2 tsp. lemon thyme, minced
1 T. lemon balm, minced
3/4 c. heavy cream
1 T. butter
16 large clams, scrubbed and rinsed
12 large sea scallops, rinsed
kosher salt to taste
freshly ground white pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of water to rolling boil and place a second large skillet on pan on stovetop and heat to medium high flame.
2. Add the olive oil to the skillet and saute the onion and garlic until translucent, stirring frequently. At this point, the water should be boiling so add 2 tsp. of kosher salt to the water and the fresh tagliatelli. Swirl the paste to cover evenly with water. If you're using dried pasta instead of fresh, put the pasta in the water before you start the sauce. Dried tagliatelli will take about 8-10 minutes, whereas fresh pasta will take 3-5 minutes.
3. Squeeze the lemon juice into the skillet and add the white wine. Add the clams and cover the pan.
4. Bring another skillet to high heat, add the butter and melt. Pat the scallops dry with a paper towel, season with kosher salt and white ground pepper and place in the skillet. Sear 2 minutes on the first side and flip. Sear another 2 minutes on the second side and immediately remove the scallops from the heat.
5. At this point the pasta should be done and the clams should be done as well. They are done when their shells are fully open and this should not be more than about 4-5 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the clams. Toss gently with tongs and add the herbs and cream. Toss again gently and remove from heat. Discard any clams that didn't fully open. Serve immediately and place the seared scallops on top of the pasta and clams.